From South Korean director Hannah Bang, SOAK tells a poignant story about how our relationships with our parents can change as we grow up. In just 16 minutes, the short film tells us the story of Yeonsoo, a high school junior, trying to reconnect with her mother who has left home. Yeonsoo is surprised to find out the reason that her mother hasn’t come home, and distressed at her reluctance. Thanks to delicate camera work, muted lighting, and quiet dialogue, the audience will find it easy to empathize with Yeonsoo as she tries to process information about her mother’s new life.
Yeonsoo has to hide that she’s meeting up with her mother from her strict father, and actress Do Eun Lee plays Yeonsoo’s conflicting emotions brilliantly. The short film focuses on Yeonsoo and her mother Mina (Chaewon Kim), and the two of them have a great, easy, believable dynamic. Between their performances and the beautiful cinematography and editing in the film, SOAK feels like it could easily be a full length feature film, although the film manages to pack an emotional punch in its quick run time.
SOAK maintains a somber tone throughout; despite the bright lights of the city surrounding her, Yeonsoo’s internal conflict of longing for her family to be back together, loneliness, and perhaps wanting to strike out on her own make for a surprisingly touching and effective short film. It’s a beautiful short that perfectly encapsulates those moments when, as a teenager, you realize that your parents are their own people, and more than just your parents.
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